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Windbreak merits conservation award

Staff writer

Driving south on Nighthawk Rd., just across the Cottonwood River, travelers can see a large, lush windbreak to the west that wraps around the homestead of Jon Hefley and his wife, Sonja. They have lived at 1753 Nighthawk Rd. for 30 years.

Jon started planting trees on their five-acre site after his father gave him a book about windbreaks.

He ended up with a four-row windbreak of cedar trees, sumac bushes, currant bushes, and oak trees.

The windbreak has grown to provide an impenetrable wall. It attracts pheasants and quail. Jon is a former Quail Forever board member.

Jon’s neighbor mows prairie grass next to the windbreak every year to keep fire hazards down and hays an adjoining 55-acres of prairie that Jon owns.

Jon also has an orchard of peach, apple, plum, cherry, and pear trees.

For his efforts, Marion County Conservation District and Citizens State Bank will award him a 2021 Kansas Bankers Windbreak Award at the annual meeting Feb. 19.

The 63-year-old Hefley was working at Wheatbelt in Hillsboro when he became disabled.

“I wish I could work,” he said.

He is preparing for back surgery.

He keeps chickens and looks after a bunch of cats, many of them strays. He likes to hunt, fish, target practice, and play snooker.

Sonya works at Legacy Eye Care in Hillsboro. Their 14-year-old daughter, Alivia, is an eighth grader at Hillsboro Middle School. Jon enjoys going to her basketball games.

He strongly believes in the importance of windbreaks.

“They were put in to slow down the wind across the plains,” he said. “Trees are important also for oxygen and wildlife.”

Last modified Feb. 2, 2022

 

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